Point of interest: 本音(ほんね)and 建前(たてまえ)

本音(ほんね)and 建前(たてまえ)
147 words
Grammar games:
The duality of
(true feelings) and
(public presentation) are an important concept in Japanese culture. 本音 refers to inner thoughts and feelings; one's honest internal views of a situation. 建前 refers to the public face one presents - in terms of appearance, or opinions, or attitude.
The idea that these might be different, and that might be institutionalized in the culture, often takes people by surprise. Japanese society works extraordinarily smoothly, despite the large population density - just under 130 million live in a usable area of about 39,400 square miles, giving a population density about 2.6x England. One of the reasons for this is that it is the opposite of a 'selfish' culture: Japanese believe firmly that avoiding inconveniencing or offending people around them is a key to the effective functioning of society. And sometimes that necessitates holding back what one might really think.

Words used in this point of interest

real intention; motive; true opinion; what one really thinks  (opposite: 建前)
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Most common form: 立て前
1. face; official stance; public position or attitude (as opposed to private thoughts)  (opposite: 本音; this meaning is restricted to form 建て前, 建前, 立て前, 立前)
2. ceremony for the erection of the framework of a house  (this meaning is restricted to form 建て前, 建前)
(click the word to view an additional 1 meaning and 5 forms, examples and links)

Kanji used in this point of interest

ホン   book   もと origin   
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オン   イン   sound   おと    ね    
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ケン   コン   た to be built   たてる to build   
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ゼン   まえ before   
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